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Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Report: FBI gives NCAA clearance to begin investigating some basketball programs in corruption scandal

FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament college basketball game. What some call the sleezy side of college basketball recruiting will be on display at a criminal trial starting Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

FILE - In this March 14, 2012, file photo, a player runs across the NCAA logo during practice in Pittsburgh before an NCAA tournament college basketball game. What some call the sleezy side of college basketball recruiting will be on display at a criminal trial starting Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

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The FBI has given the NCAA clearance to begin investigating possible code violations at universities related to the recent college basketball corruption trial, according to a Yahoo Sports report published Tuesday night.

Which universities' basketball programs the NCAA would be able to investigate are not yet clear, but the University of Kansas had become a focus of the trial before it ended in late October in New York.

KU officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday morning.

During the trial, testimony focused on KU coach Bill Self’s relationship with government witness and former Adidas consultant T.J. Gassnola. Gassnola testified that he paid the families of players to steer them to KU, including $90,000 to the mother of Billy Preston and $2,500 to the guardian of Silvio De Sousa. Gassnola testified that he never told Self about the payments.

The defense in the case argued that the coaches, including Self and KU assistant coach Kurtis Townsend, were aware of the payments to players.

The argument was not enough, as the jury found all three men facing charges — former Adidas executive James Gatto, business manager Christian Dawkins and amateur league director Merl Code — guilty of defrauding universities, including KU, by providing money to players’ families to steer them toward certain programs.

Both the defense and the prosecution said the families of KU players received money, which could be the interest of an NCAA investigation.

De Sousa was cleared by the NCAA to play during the 2017-18 season, where KU won its 14th straight Big 12 conference title and made an appearance in the Final Four. In light of the information revealed in the trial, KU chose to keep De Sousa out of games during the current season until the NCAA clears him to play again. Preston, who never played an official game at KU because of eligibility concerns, now plays professionally for the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers organization.

The federal government did not produce a formal letter or declaration giving the NCAA clearance, but did acknowledge certain school’s cases could be investigated, according to the report.

How long an investigation could take is not clear, but the NCAA is known for long investigations and could take longer than usual because many universities were implicated in the scandal, according to the report.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

Comments

Bee Bee 1 week, 6 days ago

Thank you F B I for keeping us safe from fake Russians, sneaker salesmen and college coaches. I sleep better knowing you are on the case and spending MY money wisely.

Shannon Gustafson 1 week, 5 days ago

IF we assume every single dollar in the FBI's budget went to the Russian investigation and the CBB Corruption case (which it didn't, not even close), then the FBI spent a whopping $26 of your dollars on those things. The reality is the combined cost of those two investigations cost you a 10 cents. Is that really what you should be getting mad about, how a single dime was spent, or are there other things more important in your life that you could dedicate that energy towards?

I won't bother explaining to you that the FBI has enough individuals to work on more than two things at a time, or that your assumption that your biased opinion about what's "wise" to investigate is somehow more knowledgeable than the FBI's is laughable.

Micky Baker 1 week, 5 days ago

The one thing the FBI should not have even been involved in is the Kavanaugh hearings. The PD with the relevant jurisdiction should have,but they wouldn't take the case either. And the Russian investigation has been going on for more than year and zero charges of anyone close to the President is related to collusion with the Russians.

Shannon Gustafson 1 week, 5 days ago

The Russian investigation is purposely not arresting those close to the president yet. The idea is to start at the bottom, see who will flip and provide new information, chase those new leads, and work up the ladder to the top. That means those closest to Trump would be the last to be charged, if they will be charged.

Allison Steen 1 week, 5 days ago

I assume you say this as some kind of expert?

It is literally standard operating procedure for the FBI to do background checks for the federal government. So yes, they should have been involved in the renewed background check of Kavanaugh

Dane Pratt 1 week, 5 days ago

I think the FBI investigation is totally legit but I also think its small and insignificant in the broader picture compared to what goes on in Wall Street. I don’t find much consolation in the fact that Jim Gato will go to jail when Wall Street bankers who helped crash the economy in 2008 all got pay raises. There is more “legal” influence pedaling taking place in congress that results in a greater impact to the general public. This is the equivalent of arresting jaywalkers while ignoring bank robbers.

Allison Steen 1 week, 5 days ago

So are you mad the FBI is doing its job or mad that its negatively affecting us? The FBI employs 35k-40k employees. Some of them work on the special counsel's Russia investigation, some of them work on this college basketball case, some of them work in terrorism, etc. So what are you mad about again?

David Howell 1 week, 5 days ago

The problem is the FBI is working for the Democrats ! When you lose an election you are to accept that and move on. Instead our Congress has wasted two years of work and the world views us as a failing Democracy .................

Shannon Gustafson 1 week, 4 days ago

Somebody's been spending too much time watching Fox News and reading Infowars...

Tony Bandle 1 week, 6 days ago

By the time the NCAA finishes this investigation, all current players on the team plus their future children will have graduated or left early, Bill will be retired and KU will be preparing to celebrate it's bicentennial anniversary!!!

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 1 week, 6 days ago

Hopefully this leads to a decision on Silvio's status before the season ends.

Bryce Landon 1 week, 6 days ago

And hopefully it doesn't lead to vacated wins, conference titles, or Final Four appearances...

Michael Maris 1 week, 6 days ago

Hopefully, it doesn't. But, if I was Kansas, I would appeal any so called founded evidence. Because, Kansas provided them the information that the NCAA needed to get Silvio eligible. And, if the NCAA didn't perform their investigative duties properly, then they're just as guilty for not performing their job (as they're being paid to do by ALL participating NCAA Membership). After all, the NCAA is nothing but a privately funded Bureaucracy.

Mike Hart 1 week, 6 days ago

Absolutely 100% incorrect. Kansas' "CONTENTION"... is that they didn't KNOW about any payments made to DeSousa's guardian or the like. Hence, they didn't provide any information to the NCAA regarding DeSousa (or his guardian) receiving money... or info about Maryland booster paying $80K, etc. KU presumably didn't know. The information KU provided was related to DeSousa's academic eligibility.. there was nothing about any payments.

Michael Maris 1 week, 5 days ago

Mike,

I believe that you have misinterpreted my comment. I'm not saying that Kansas is guilty. I said that Kansas provided the NCAA all of the information that they had to provide for Silvio to become academically eligible. But. did the NCAA perform their investigations properly? Lord knows how the NCAA has dragged their feet on previous Kansas recruits. And, will Duke be investigated on the information that was made public about Zion Williamson now?

clint moran 1 week, 5 days ago

Thanks for clarifying, Mike. I had wondered this myself, since his file had gone across the NCAA compliance office desk. However, I did recall listening to Kevin Keitzman while Silvio was waiting on the green light from the NCAA. Someone on that show (Keegan, perhaps?) had mentioned that part of the delay was that the NCAA compliance office had to investigate amateurism, and that this situation required more time than usual because he was an international player. Specific examples were named such as: if the player in question had ever had a reward of monetary value given for any number of tournaments that he participated in over seas. I don't know how deep this is investigated, but would it not fall under the same guidelines as "pay-for-play" amateurism violations?

Jim Stauffer 1 week, 5 days ago

Don't think that is possible. KU will not play Silvio this year until he is cleared by NCAA and he was cleared by NCAA last year.

Steve Grimm 1 week, 6 days ago

Whether the NCAA responds quickly or slowly, I don't think that it matters for Silvio. Either way, I don't see him playing for KU anymore. He is now in a position to prove his innocence vs the NCAA proving his guilt. That's bad.

Considering NCAA takes MONTHS to determine even the smallest of accusations, I would be shocked that any decision is reached before the season is over. There are WAY too many things at stake here.

If the NCAA thinks they can set a judgement on KU on the merits & scope of what happened around a couple of players without having a more broad view of the scope of this issue across all the schools, I think they run the risk of setting a precedence decision that they may regret later when they realize it is more common than they thought. Although, I concede that the NCAA really has never been concerned with being consistent between decisions.

With all that said, I think the NCAA may be in worse shape if they absolve KU. There is already a large public view that KU is now complicit. If the Jayhawks are not reprimanded in some way, then the public outcry could be even worse.

Not a good time for college basketball. Not a good prospect for KU. Ugly spot for NCAA.

The end for Silvio.

ugh.

Jeff Coffman 1 week, 6 days ago

I'm very confused about everyone thinking KU is going to get hit super hard with violations and is going to be submitted to potential scholarship limitations, vacated wins, and/or future probations. I might be over simplifying this but it seems to me the only thing that occurred for a person that actually played a game was a $2300 payment for educational purposes. I think that individual like many of the previous cases for impermissible benefits is 1/3 of the season and make a donation to a charity equal to that payment. So game 13 De Sousa will be playing, and he'll likely make a donation to one of his home country's charities.

I get that Preston was paid, but never played. Additionally, once a payment was identified KU sat the player. Every time there was a question, KU sat the player. Don't make KU guilty until there is evidence of such.

Our assistance also was on a wiretap being told what a person wanted, and that person is 1500 miles east of KU, so whatever he was asking was not made by KU.

I guess I am a little naïve, but I don't see what KU is facing violations for.

Mike Hart 1 week, 5 days ago

Well if Townsend did nothing and his phone calls talking about payment (Williamson) didn't show a willingness on KU behalf.. then KU is doing a disservice by not having Townsend tell his story to "clear this all up". I think most fair-minded people know that KU knew something was happening via Adidas. If Adidas was really doing all of this behind KU's back .. without Self/Townsend knowing anything... then why on EARTH are we still in a contract with them? Why on Earth have we not paid back the $1.5MM that Adidas fronted KU.. .and why on Earth won't they release the public records regarding this.. instead of hiding behind "I'm not sure that we are required to release that information". Clear it up, KU.. if nothing to hide.

Joe Black 1 week, 5 days ago

Because lawyers and the wacko media will twist and turn whatever was done or said to make it look bad whether it is the reality or not. That is why I would never release anything.

Jeff Coffman 1 week, 5 days ago

Two really big leaps. One KU was proven in the same court that they did not know; hence the guilty verdict. Two you point to Adidas having a bad employee that ruins the entire entity. KU had a contract in place that was intended to pay $1.5MM more annually. Both parties are acting in good faith until the dust settles. At that point they can evaluate the position of Adidas for the long-term, as of right now, it is two companies operating under good faith. By the way if you return the $1.5MM you should make sure all of the programs don't wear Adidas anywhere.

Steven Haag 1 week, 6 days ago

Jeff, I 100% agree. The only thing that I can see is the $2,300-$2,500 for classes by Silvio. It went to the guardian. Silvio can claim he didn’t know where it came from, and he may be right. I don’t see the NCAA leaving KU totally unscathed. So, they will punish him (and the university, and the fans) for that. Everything else, while it may “look” bad, holds no water. Preston didn’t play, that’s a plus on KU for holding him out, Zion never came, etc. it “should” be a quick investigation, but it is the NCAA. I am guessing that if it’s a 10 game suspension, they will make the ruling the day after game 10 and say time served. Silvio needs to start saving up the $2,300-$2,500 dollars now so he can be ready to pay and play.

Todd Hill 1 week, 6 days ago

Just curious, how do you propose Silvio "save up" money? He is on an Athletic scholarship so he is not able to hold a job.

John Strayer 1 week, 5 days ago

Well if the guardian pocketed the money, then the guardian should make Silvio whole.

Mike Hart 1 week, 5 days ago

That's easy Todd... he'll pay from the money Adidas funneled him that the KU coaching staff knows nothing about. I mean, I'm sure that Fenny taking $80kb from a Maryland booster to garner his commitment to Maryland... was given back.. .and that Fenny took nothing to have him go to KU instead. Ludicrous...

Shannon Gustafson 1 week, 5 days ago

It was 60k, not 80k that was alleged, and it was only hearsay. Nobody has provided any proof that it happened, just that it was discussed. Very similar to how Zion's 100k was discussed but didn't happen. Furthermore, it's been stated by multiple people close to Silvio that he wanted to go to KU, not Maryland. So that would indicate that there would be no reason for him to need to be paid to go to KU but there WOULD be a reason to have to pay to get him to go somewhere he didn't want to go to.

Spencer Goff 1 week, 5 days ago

How does Duke get a pass on this when we know Zion was asking for a LOT to commit? And thanks Townsend for not understanding how to play the game better...

Pius Waldman 1 week, 5 days ago

The truth is poor DeSousa is being punished by not being allowed to play even before considered innocent until proven guilty. Yet he hasn't been charged with violations. Do we get punished if our parents break laws or rules? Sometimes things happen that aren't fair or right. Duke didn't keep their star freshman out of playing time even though comments are recorded that he might have step father violations.

Kenneth Johnson 1 week, 5 days ago

Passing off the investigation to the NCAA is really bad news for KU, as they have had it in for the Jayhawks for many years. An example is last year, when the NCAA delayed their investigation of Preston so long, that he and his family finally said something like "to hell with this crap" and opted to go pro.

The NCAA lets Kentucky (Calipari and all his predecessors) and Duke (Coach K) get by year after year with all kinds of stuff, but if there's even a sniff of anything related to KU, they just can't wait to start, but usually not finish, an investigation that takes so long that KU pays the price anyway.

I do remember, though, that they did finish an investigation back in 1988, when they stuck it to KU because Larry Brown paid for an airline ticket for Vince Askew, who was considering transferring to KU. During Askew's visit to Lawrence, his grandmother died, and Larry paid for his ticket to go the funeral, because Askew didn't have any money. That deal caused us to have a one year suspension from the NCAA tournament, loss of some recruiting possibilities, plus a bunch of other penalties -- just because Brown showed some mercy for a kid - a kid who never went to KU.

Now it looks like they will do the same thing again this year.

Jeff Coffman 1 week, 5 days ago

Actually we behind the scene thought they were delaying. In the trial it came out there was acts to specifically deceive KU in where the car and then the subsequent money came from. KU had to submit multiple forms adjusting based off what they learned and the cumulation of lies that Preston's guardian was providing under the guidance from her "lover" at Adidas. All in all Preston and entourage ended up lying to get him on the court based on court testimony, but when questions arose it continued to delay. Eventually they traced the money and he was never going to get cleared with the $80k in payments, that is why he went elsewhere.

Barry Weiss 1 week, 5 days ago

very true. I don't think anyone can really blame KU or the NCAA for the Prestons taking 90K. The Prestons reportedly were trying to hide that and coming up with some story about a romantic relationship or something. Bad decision on taking the cash. Cost Billy big time.

Chris Shaw 1 week, 5 days ago

Play Silvio De Sousa! Kansas IMO taking the wrong approach. De Sousa being the sacrificial lamb I do not agree with. Protect The Program At All Costs, Right?

Craig Carson 1 week, 5 days ago

by not playing a player that they KNOW have eligibility issues they ARE protecting the the entire team..KU didnt tell SD guardian to break the rules..why should KU risk a whole season over 1 player...yes it sucks for SD, but it would suck more to play him this year only to vacate an entire season..

Chris Shaw 1 week, 5 days ago

Does he have eligibility issues? Did Self and Townsend know this? Rules? What Rules? Kansas wants to play the victim but De Sousa is the real victim, especially when Self and Townsend knew. Do the right thing and play him! Force the NCAA’s hand. Are we really concerned about the asterisk next to last season, games forfeited, scholarships pulled and banners pulled down? Come on, wake up!

If Kansas and for that matter, everyone involved believes De Sousa is the true victim than stand up for him. Force the NCAA to make a decision and be the complete hypocrites that they are. If the worst thing that happens is what happened to Jim Boeheim and Syracuse then I say bring it on baby! Do we really believe that Jim Boeheim’s 101 wins were really vacated? What a sham.

Kansas is at the focal point. They played the game and were playing it well, but guess what? They got caught. If you want to change the game that is being played and you’re really for the “Studen-Athlete”, then play De Sousa. Quit trying to hide behind the charade of what Addidas, Nike, And Under Armour are really doing. Embrace this situation!

Craig Carson 1 week, 5 days ago

I dont think SD himself is guilty, but if his guardian did take $$$, then KU cant play the kid..its as simple as that...and NO!!!!!!!! Self nor Townsend knew of any payments...the MF Adidas rep testified UNDER OATH that he didnt tell the KU staff what he was doing...it isnt about standing up the NCAA, its about protecting the program..no 1 player is above the program...until you give an actual reason that makes sense to play him, then be quiet b***g about it....case closed

Steve Grimm 1 week, 5 days ago

Hey, I love the fact that everyone is a KU homer. As you all should be. I am too. I am also a glass half-full kind of person. So, I understand all the comments that the issue is a big fat nothing: Silvio's $2,500 and some wild claim in court from Adidas.

If that is all it is, then I am with you that this is nothing but a small infraction - done without KU involvement.. End of story.

But that's just it. We don't know.

But let's go down this path a bit anyway.

What we DO know is there IS evidence & testimony to SUGGEST that KU Coaches WERE aware. There is evidence (wiretaps & documentation) captured by the FBI that has not been disclosed in court. In addition, if you take the word from Adidas folks, KU was not only aware, they agreed to it. One would wonder: why would Adidas want to throw KU coaches under the bus? If it was the wild claim of some ex-employees, where is Adidas formally standing up and claiming otherwise?

THAT is the concern. It is not Silvio's $2500.

The NCAA has never been known to be forthright, dependable, fair or even logical in their rulings.

By the FBI now allowing the NCAA to get involved, it is like handing a loaded gun to a drunk person. Nobody knows where they will point it, but everyone knows someone will get shot.

If the NCAA decides there is no wrongdoing from KU - and I HOPE TO HEAVEN THAT IS TRUE - even then the public will expect an NCAA cover up. Given the NCAA, this might overrule "truth" in their decision.

Additionally, it is possible that KU coaches were not aware Adidas did anything for Silvio, but if it is determined that KU coaches WERE aware such nefarious actions did occur in general, then the NCAA could examine KU's monitoring processes and find they were lacking due diligence to fight against what KU KNEW was happening out in the wild.... (after all, Silvio AND Preston both were caught doing this same no-no)

I can only hope and believe that our KU coaches are telling the truth when they deny knowledge.

But nevertheless, I'm telling you, this is not going to be pretty. This has gone beyond Silvio. It is political. It is a charge against college basketball. It is finally a real life example of the ugly underbelly of college basketball that EVERYONE figured was happening but nobody wanted to touch.

Right or wrong. KU got singled out as one of the examples.

I am a glass half-full guy. But this does have me worried.

And Silvio is the least of them

Tony Bandle 1 week, 5 days ago

Your last name truly befits the picture you have painted. : }

Steve Grimm 1 week, 5 days ago

Now that's funny. I don't care who you are. :)

Barry Weiss 1 week, 5 days ago

Addidas was not trying to throw KU coach's under the bus, it was the attorneys for the convicted felons. Addidas probably wants to continue its relationship with KU. The jury did not agree with your statement that there was evidence and testimony to support KU coach's were aware. If that were the case, the jury would have found in favor of the three persons convicted.

Craig Carson 1 week, 5 days ago

a few things about this seem off..let me list the basic allegations we know about DeSousa....a Maryland booster is alleged to have given Fenny,SD guardian, 60k to sway SD to Maryland..he ultimately choose KU..but Fenny had to borrow 20k from Gassnola to get out from under the deal he made with the booster..so this is what isnt adding up...the booster gave 60k with the expectation that Fenny would get SD to commit to Maryland..when that didnt happen, Fenny ONLY had to borrow 20k to repay him....so you're telling me than a booster gave 60k to Fenny to deliver SD,and when he failed to do so the booster was like "ya know what, I know I gave you 60k, but just give me back 20k and we'll call it even..ill just take the 40k loss, no big deal? another thing is this..so far, the booster was only ALLEGED to have gave 60k....but was there ever any actual evidence? just because someone is alleged to have done something doesnt mean they actually did it..that kind of money doesnt move around without bank records...if im KU, any talks or sanctions or vacating of games is gonna have to be backed by by concrete proof by the NCAA..Id already have lawyers on stand by waiting to sue the NCAA if they tried to enforce anything without clear evidence

Jeff Coffman 1 week, 5 days ago

You forgot a few things, the 20k payment was offered, but never paid. The informant said he would have made the payment, but the FBI investigation was announced. Therefore he switched for zero dollars.

KU knew about certain things before the trial about Sousa, but not everything. The big question is did they know about the Maryland Booster, the alleged to be made payment, or the actual payment of $2300? Depending on what was already submitted and cleared, is how long the investigation in him will take place.

Dirk Medema 1 week, 5 days ago

Craig - If only $20k of the $60k had been spent and $40k was still safely stuffed under the mattress, there would only be $20k needed to "get out from under". The rest would have still been available to repay.

Craig Carson 1 week, 5 days ago

@Dirk..that still makes no sense...the booster gave 60k...you really think someone would lend out 60k for a favor and only want back 20k when the favor isnt granted????..and do you really think that booster would accept back only a fraction of what they lent out and happily wait for the rest as if they were some bank accepting mortgage payments???...

Dane Pratt 1 week, 5 days ago

If the schools really are the victims as the DA contends, seems odd that they are now being thrown to the curb to fend for themselves.

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